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San Benito County, California
Map of California highlighting San Benito County
Location in the state of California
Map of the U.S. highlighting California
California's location in the U.S.
Founded 1874
Seat Hollister
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,391 sq mi (3,603 km²)
1,389 sq mi (3,597 km²)
2 sq mi (5 km²), 0.12%
 - (2000)
 - Density

39/sq mi (15/km²)

San Benito County is a county located in the Coast Range Mountains of the U.S. state of California, south of San Jose. As of 2000 the population was 53,234. The county seat is Hollister, which includes approximately three fifths of the county's population. El Camino Real passes through the county and includes one mission in San Juan Bautista.

As housing costs have gone up in the San Francisco Bay Area, commuters have begun moving to San Benito County.


San Benito County was formed from parts of Monterey County in 1874.

The county is named after the San Benito Valley. Father Juan Crespi, in his expedition in 1772, named a small river in honor of San Benedicto (Saint Benedict), the patron saint of the married, and it is from the contraction of this name that the county took its name.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,602 km² (1,391 sq mi). 3,598 km² (1,389 sq mi) of it is land and 4 km² (2 sq mi) of it (0.12%) is water.

Sharing a border with Santa Clara County, San Benito County lies adjacent to the San Francisco Bay Area but is often considered not a part of that region (see San Francisco Bay Area). Instead, the county is associated with the Monterey Bay Area through governmental organizations such as the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments as well as the Pajaro River, which flows from northern San Benito County into the Monterey Bay. However, the United States Census Bureau includes the county in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara MSA and the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland CSA, which the Census uses as a statistical definition of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The county is also the location of the San Benito American Viticultural Area.

Cities and towns[]

Adjacent counties[]

Transportation Infrastructure[]

Major highways[]

Public Transportation[]

San Benito County Express provides fixed route service in the city of Hollister, and intercity service in the northern portion of the county. Service operates as far north as Gilroy, in Santa Clara County.


Hollister Municipal Airport is a general aviation airport located just north of Hollister.


As of the census² of 2000, there were 53,234 people, 15,885 households, and 12,898 families residing in the county. The population density was 15/km² (38/sq mi). There were 16,499 housing units at an average density of 5/km² (12/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 65.17% White, 1.08% Black or African American, 1.16% Native American, 2.40% Asian, 0.19% Pacific Islander, 24.87% from other races, and 5.14% from two or more races. 47.93% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 62.8% spoke English and 35.3% Spanish as their first language.

There were 15,885 households out of which 46.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.7% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.8% were non-families. 14.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.32 and the average family size was 3.64.

In the county the population was spread out with 32.2% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 8.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 102.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.6 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $57,469, and the median income for a family was $60,665. Males had a median income of $44,158 versus $29,524 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,932. About 6.7% of families and 10.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and 8.5% of those age 65 or over.


Presidential election results
Year DEM GOP Others
2004 52.6% 9,851 46.5% 8,698 1.9% 176
2000 54.3% 9,131 41.7% 7,015 4.1% 685
1996 50.6% 7,030 38.7% 5,384 10.7% 1,492
1992 42.0% 5,354 32.3% 4,112 25.7% 3,273
1988 44.2% 4,559 54.1% 5,578 1.7% 171
1984 37.9% 3,554 60.7% 5,695 1.4% 131
1980 36.2% 2,749 53.3% 4,054 10.5% 799
1976 46.7% 3,122 50.9% 3,398 2.4% 160
1972 37.5% 2,582 57.6% 3,961 4.9% 338
1968 45.1% 2,809 47.5% 2,961 7.4% 459
1964 60.6% 3,779 39.2% 2,444 0.2% 14
1960 48.4% 2,876 51.4% 3,056 0.2% 13

San Benito is a Democratic-leaning county in Presidential and congressional elections. The last Republican to win a majority in the county was George H.W. Bush in 1988. It is often considered the bellwether of California, as most of its election returns mirrored the state as a whole. San Benito is part of California's 17th congressional district, which is held by Democrat Sam Farr. In the state legislature San Benito is in the 28th Assembly district, which is held by Democrat Anna M. Caballero, and the 12th Senate district, which is held by Republican Jeff Denham.

Environmental features[]

Benitoite, the official gem of the State of California, was discovered in San Benito County.[1] The county is also home to


  1. ^ Louderback, George Davis. 1907. "Benitoite, A New California Gem Mineral." Bulletin of The Department of Geology, Vol. 5, No. 9. University of California Publications.
  2. ^ Hickman, James C. (editor). 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press.
  3. ^ Sara Goudarzi (June 7, 2006). ""666-Legged Creature Rediscovered."". LiveScience. 

See also[]

External links[]

Coordinates: 36°37′N 121°05′W / 36.61, -121.08

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at San Benito County, California. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.